Today I am excited to share something special with you…
I am so very grateful that my friend Christie Federico has agreed to contribute some of her wisdom on the subject of sexuality and self-expression for this blog.
She and I became friends on Instagram several months ago, bonding over a common love of reading books, and a shared desire to express ourselves more freely.
I quickly learned that this girl is the real deal; kind, smart, funny, and truly authentic.
The passion that she has for her work shines through everything that she posts on her blog and social media.
Enjoy the interview below…
Me: So please introduce yourself, Christie. Tell us what you do both personally and professionally.
Christie: Hey hey! I’m a sassy, introverted, pensive goofball. I love to dance, sing, and play music; music is a huge passion of mine. I also love nature and outdoor activities, cooking, writing, and making people laugh.
Professionally, I am a Relationship and Sexual Empowerment Coach. I help people of all genders have deep connections with themselves and others; incorporate more pleasure into their lives; work through any issues surrounding sexuality; and feel sexually empowered and able to express their sexuality fully and authentically. Right now I work 1-on-1 with clients and am in the process of creating in-person workshops and events as well as an online group sexual empowerment coaching program for women.
Me: I loved your blog post about being an introvert because I can completely relate. And as a fellow introvert, I know how big of a deal it is to put yourself out there.
Over the past several months you have been showing so much more of yourself, posting sexier photos, and talking about taboo subjects. I’m sure it’s not always easy putting yourself out there like that. So, I’m curious what’s that internal process like? How do you get into the vulnerability mindset?
Christie: You’re so right — it’s not always easy! But it does get easier over time. The internal process starts off with me being inspired in some way to share something vulnerable, whether it’s because I’m currently struggling with or experiencing something, or because I remembered something from the past that I think might be interesting to reflect on and share. It could even just be inspiration from a friend or the media. Next, I make sure what I share can provide value to others. I never want to share something just for my benefit. Rather, I aim to inspire others and encourage reflection and motivation to make positive changes in one’s life. As scary as it can feel to share something so personal, if I think it can help someone in any way, it eliminates my hesitation and fear almost completely. I used to be more concerned about people judging me, but I’ve gotten past that for the most part by constantly reminding myself that people will judge me no matter what I say or do and that it’s a reflection of them, not me.
Me: As a sex and relationship coach, you’re feeling more and more passion to help people live a sex-positive life. What do you think makes this such an important issue? And which issues regarding sexuality do you think are the most common in our society?
Christie: I think what makes it such an important issue is the fact that suppressing our sexuality and being part of a sex-negative culture is so detrimental to our entire being, as individuals and as a society. Sex is natural — it’s how many of us were created — and our sexuality is inherently a crucial part of our identities and our relationships. It’s neither natural nor healthy for us to have to suppress it and suppressing it negatively affects not only our sex lives and romantic relationships but many, if not all, areas of our lives.
A big issue is the emphasis on gender binarism, monogamy, and heterosexuality. We’re sent messages through family, society, the media, etc., that the gender we identify with must align with the sex that we were assigned at birth and that there are only two categories; that monogamous relationships are the only acceptable option; and that heterosexuality is the norm. The reality is that there’s a lot of grey area which results in many people having to hide parts of their identities in order to be accepted by society; it can cause a lot of suffering. Other issues include but certainly are not limited to rape culture, slut shaming, and the stigma of having STIs and overall lack of education on them.
Me: I’m super curious about your thoughts on masturbation. Growing up, no one ever talked to me about masturbation. I thought it was something to be ashamed of and I think a lot of women can relate. As an advocate of self-pleasure, I want to know how you feel about this topic? How would you describe a healthy sexual relationship with yourself? Do you think there is a right or wrong way to use self-pleasure?
Christie: I agree that there is typically a lot of shame around masturbation — we’re often not taught about it or are shamed when we do it, so it becomes something we must do in secrecy. I also think the media portrays it as more normal for boys and men to masturbate and be sexual, so girls and women are sent these messages that it’s not normal or okay for them to masturbate or be sexual, and if they are sexual it should be for the benefit of boys and men and their pleasure. As such, there are plenty of women who have never taken the time to explore their bodies, discover what feels pleasurable, and develop that deep intimacy within themselves, partly because they are ashamed to or feel that it is wrong. Men often experience shame around masturbation in a different way. One example of this is if they masturbate often because they don’t have partners to have sex with. I have had clients tell me that this makes them feel embarrassed, ashamed, and like less of a man.
I would describe a healthy sexual relationship with oneself as one in which you release any shame around your sexuality and feel safe exploring and pleasuring your body in whatever way that feels right for you. Knowing what feels good physically and knowing what makes you feel sexy and being able to express that confidently, whether it’s to the world by how you dress and behave or to a sexual partner by communicating your needs and desires.
I don’t know if I would say that there are”right” or “wrong” ways to self-pleasure; I think it can be dangerous to have strict guidelines that can cause even more shame when people don’t adhere to them than they already might feel surrounding the topic. Plus, everyone is different in so many ways so it’s just not black and white. With that said, I do think some self-pleasuring habits are healthier than others. The reasons behind why we’re self-pleasuring and how our practice is affecting our health, relationships, etc., are the main things to consider when deciphering what is healthy and unhealthy. If we find ourselves masturbating so frequently that it negatively affects other areas of our lives like our relationships or careers, that’s not a very healthy practice. If we get into the habit of seeking a quick “high” from an orgasm in order to avoid feeling something uncomfortable, that’s not very healthy either. If we watch porn in order to feel some sort of connection because we’re lacking real connection, that’s obviously not the best way to go about obtaining connection because it’s not fulfilling our real need.
I love the idea of self-pleasure as a type of exploratory practice with oneself — just enjoying oneself and seeing where it goes — versus a very goal-oriented approach with masturbating just to climax. I personally think that’s a very healthy way to go about it — not to mention, we may discover many new sensations and heal parts of ourselves that we may not if we just tried to “get ourselves off.”
Me: Recently, you asked your followers to share what makes them feel sexy and then you posted some of their responses. I thought this was a super fun idea. So I’m wondering, what makes you feel most sexy? And what is something (or things) that anyone reading this can do to feel sexier more often?
Christie: Thank you! I love hearing what makes other people feel sexy because it really differs from person to person. A lot of people don’t really think about it so I like to encourage that. As for me, I feel most sexy when I have make-up and perfume on and when I’m wearing a dress or something form-fitting that hugs my curves. A lot of music makes me feel sexy, too. And dancing, definitely.
I think if people express themselves through their clothing and appearance in whichever way that feels natural and good to them, that’s one of the best ways to feel sexy. It’s not always easy because we’re scared of being judged or coming across as “too much,” but when we express ourselves authentically, it ignites such a fire within us and increases our confidence, which of course affects all areas of our lives. If you want to wear make-up, regardless of gender, because you know it will make you feel hot — do it! If you feel sexy in sweats but think people will think you don’t look put together — forget them and do it anyway! These things seem superficial or minor but they can make a huge difference. When we hold back from our truth in any way, we’re telling ourselves “I’m not enough” and it’s detrimental to our sexuality and so much more.
Me: I personally believe that feeling sexy and letting go of the shame surrounding sexual desires can help people to have more fulfilling relationships with their partners. Any thoughts on this?
Christie: I absolutely agree. If we deny ourselves our true sexual desires, how can we feel fulfilled in the bedroom? If we are unable to be vulnerable and authentically communicate our needs and desires to our partners, how can we connect deeply with them and have a really fulfilling relationship, inside and outside of the bedroom? It all starts with ourselves: getting to know what our desires and needs are, accepting them, and releasing any shame or guilt for them. When we accept ourselves fully and truly believe we are worthy of all that we desire, we go after all that we desire. And only then can we have all that we desire!
Me: And to close out I have one more question for you. How do you think our generation can help to create a more sex-positive future? What can we do personally to make a difference for our posterity? …
Christie: We can educate our children well when it comes to their bodies and sexual health and make sure that they understand that sex and sexuality are healthy and not taboo subjects; prioritize expressing our sexualities fully and authentically; and discuss anything related to sex and sexuality openly more often so that it eventually becomes normal rather than something to be ashamed of or to hide.